A conservation charity in Cumbria has a new director.
Farmer Douglas Chalmers is the new head of the Friends of the Lake District, which represents the Campaign to Protect Rural England in the area.
The Kendal-based organisation, which has clashed with developers over the past few years over plans to construct zip-wires and ‘welcome hubs’ in the national park, also recently expressed an interest in taking over Stickle Tarn, which was put up for sale by the Lake District National Park Authority.
Mr Chalmers said he is looking forward to his role with Friends of the Lake District.
He said: “Recently we introduced three American students to the Eden Valley and the Lake District and couldn’t fail to see the powerful impression our glorious landscape made on them – even one girl who had been telling us of the wonders of her home state of Colorado.
“It just reinforces how important it is we look after this landscape and ensure it is well managed into the future.”
The new director grew up on his family’s farm on the north-east coast of Aberdeenshire and studied agriculture at the University of Aberdeen.
After graduating in animal science, he trained as an animal nutritionist and spent 20 years in the agricultural supply industry around England, moving through technical and sales management before becoming a general manager.
Mr Chalmers joins the Friends from the CLA which he joined as regional director for the North-West during the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001. He has been northern director of policy and public affairs since 2012.
Over the past 14 years he has been involved in a wide number of rural groups, including as secretary of the Cumbria and North and East Lancashire Rural and Farming Network, board member of Cumbria Local Nature Partnership, member of Cumbria Rural Forum Business Group, Cumbria Local Access Forum and the Lake District National Park Partnership.
Past involvements include being on the board of governors at Myerscough College, vice chairman of North West Rural Affairs Forum, chairman of Cumbria Fells and Dales RDPE Leader Group, member of North West Rural Business Sector Advisory Group and a governor at Orton Church of England School.
He and his wife Alex have three children, and away from work he is a part-time farmer at Hoff near Appleby-in-Westmorland, and a caller for the Eden Valley Ceilidh Band.
In 2007 Mr Chalmers helped Alex to found Learning Fields, a community-interest company that is a centre for wellbeing offering educational and environmental opportunities to groups and individuals of all ages and abilities. Since then other projects developed have included FarmHands care farming facility, Ernie’s Shed for older men and Avenues to Work offering individuals support back into employment.
The Friends charity was set up in 1934 to campaign for the creation of a national park in the Lake District. The result of their work led to the creation of the Lake District national park in 1951.
Over the years since, the Friends have successfully campaigned against major road building projects being built through the national park, against dams being built in Ennerdale and Wast Water to use the water for cooling the nuclear power station and drinking water.
The organisation said it has stopped large sections of Cumbria disappearing under non-native conifer plantations, and its work to stop electricity wires and pylons being built across the national park led to the ongoing national scheme to bury wires underground in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty across the country.